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July 21
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]


The California Department of Education has released its Accountability Progress Report on Thursday. This year, the Hart District’s API score of 838 is an increase of 8 points from last year’s score and places it as a leader in the state among similar union high school districts. The district’s outstanding API score is the result of efforts by teachers, staff and administrators at all district schools. The report lists the performance of California public schools based on two accountability systems, the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

API scores are calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points.  These points are then weighted and averaged across all students and all tests for their schools and district, resulting in the school’s and district’s API.  API scores can range from 200 to 1000 with scores above 800 being the goal for all districts and schools.

Academic Performance Indexes are also calculated for large subgroups – ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English learners and students with disabilities – which account for the state’s much discussed “achievement gap.”  All of these subgroups in the Hart District showed district wide growth in their scores.

The district’s highest API was achieved by the Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School, which scored an API of 937.  The Academy is a school of approximately 400 students grades 9 – 12, located on the campus of College of the Canyons.

All Hart District junior high schools scored over the state’s API goal of 800 as did Academy of Canyons, Canyon, Hart, Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch high schools.  Golden Valley made the most gains among the comprehensive schools in API scores this year, raising their scores by 5 points from last year.

The largest component of the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability system is determined by a districts or schools progress toward meeting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s goal that 100 percent of its students score proficient or better in English-language arts (ELA) and math by 2014.

These goals, or percent proficient targets, increase annually and have now become very challenging, especially for students with disabilities and English learners.  Most schools and districts across the state will miss their AYP targets in these areas.  In the Hart District all of its significant subgroups of students performed better than last year, but due to the proficiency rate targets being raised, several did not meet this year’s AYP target.

This year the Hart District met 32 of its 42 AYP targets, missing in the students with disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English learners, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino subgroups.  Individual schools which missed their AYP targets also did so because of scores for students with disabilities, English learners, Hispanic or socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups.

The AYP target percentages this year were 78.0 percent of students at proficient or above in ELA and 78.2 percent in math, up from 67.0 and 67.3 percent from last year.  The Hart District recorded proficiency rates of 72.9 percent for ELA and 69.8 percent for mathematics.

“Our students have shown excellent growth overall, and our subgroups have also shown progress,” said David LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment.  He noted that the school sites have developed strong, research based intervention programs for students and special education faculty has aligned its curriculum to the state standards in a drive to better serve their students with special needs.

LeBarron noted that the continual growth in the district’s API scores and its ability to meet most of its AYP targets does not happen automatically.  “It is the result of our teachers, support staff, and administrators working very hard to assess, evaluate and improve their instruction and our students’ performance,” he explained. “Their work, combined with the support we receive from our parents and community, is the core of a school culture that is focused on meeting the academic needs of all of its students.”

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